Earlier this year, I posted a list of 50 big questions surrounding the league this year. Now that we’re over the halfway point in the season, it’s time to revisit those questions, and see if the answers were what we expected.
1. Was last year a fluke, or a sign of things to come?
Appears to be the latter. This year’s team didn’t start the season on the same dreadful slide, but they’re struggling much like they did last season. Thursday’s loss to SIU Edwardsville should start building the pressure as the Governors may be fighting just to make the OVC Tournament again.
2. How helpful was that trip to Canada?
Not very, at least apparently. You expected this team to come out of the gates fast, and I’m not sure if they’ve come out of the gates at all.
3. Most importantly, will I ever get an answer to my “retirement” question to Dave Loos at the OVC tournament?
Yeah, I’ve pretty much given up on this. Maybe I should ask it again?
4. Will Belmont be the class of the OVC, like they were the Atlantic Sun?
Are they ever. With a win over Tennessee State Saturday, Belmont would become the final unbeaten in OVC play. Outside of Thursday’s win over surprising contender Eastern Kentucky, Belmont has been virtually unchallenged so far.
5. Does Belmont make the OVC a (legitimate) 2-bid league?
As expected, no, although it’s not the fault of Belmont. The OVC can get two in, but only if Belmont wins out and loses in the OVC Tournament finals. Anything else, and it’s almost guaranteed that the OVC gets just one bid.
6. From Belmont’s point of view…was joining the OVC a mistake?
Hard to say, it’s not even been a year after all, but it appears no. The concern was that Belmont, which was a near lock at the start of every season to represent the Atlantic Sun in the NCAA Tournament, would miss the tournament more often by going from a one-bid league to a tougher one-bid league. While the one-bid part is still right, there’s little question that Belmont is the current favorite to represent the OVC.
7. Will I ask Rick Byrd about retirement at this year’s OVC tournament?
Probably not. At least he’ll be at the OVC Tournament. Loos? He’s got some work to do still.
8. Who is on the roster, again?
There’s Josh Piper. And Sherman Blandford. And the freshman Alex Austin. Can you name another member of the team? Could you even name those three?
9. Will another hashtag revolution come out of Charleston?
10. Was Jay Spoonhour the right hire?
Yes. I really think he was. You can’t judge him on this season alone. His team is getting better, and he really seems to have a very positive attitude towards the virtually impossible situation he was presented with for this year.
11. Speaking of firing coaches…is the seat hot under Jeff Neubauer now?
Nope. Not even close. Who’s the idiot who suggested that? Oh right, that would be me.
12. Who is this year’s Jaron Jones?
Glenn Cosey. He’s fought through injury, but the JUCO transfer has gone from a complete unknown to the Colonels leading scorer. They wouldn’t be where they were without him and Mike DiNunno.
13. Do EKU fans still think I hate them?
14. Will their exclusion from postseason play due to APR be demoralizing?
No? It clearly wasn’t initially, but this team hasn’t been the same since OVC play started. Maybe it’s that their practice restrictions have caught up with them. Maybe it has nothing to do with it, and they’re simply slumping.
15. Is it fair to count their games in conference standings?
I’m still leaning towards yes. It doesn’t appear Jacksonville State is going to cost a team in the East an OVC Tournament slot, as TTU is the only that could be considered “on the bubble.”
16. What if the Gamecocks have an outstanding season?
They’re competing, that’s for sure. But it appears they’ll fall short of having a team that would seriously contend for the OVC Tournament Title if allowed to compete.
17. How much longer will JSU remain in the OVC?
Conference realignment seems to have hit a pause, at least for now. You never know how quickly it could flare up again.
18. New head coach Sean Woods talks a big game. Can he back it up?
No. Not yet, anyhow. They’re a middle of the OVC team at the moment, and it doesn’t really appear that they’ll finish the year much above .500 in the OVC. They’re fun to watch, and it’s only his first year. But for now, the answer is no.
19. Can Morehead find some scorers?
Nope. Only one double-digit scorer, and the Eagles are 11th in the OVC in field goal percentage, 10th in tempo free offensive efficiency. If they weren’t second in the league in forced turnovers, I’m not certain the Eagles would score many more point than Eastern Illinois.
20. Is it even possible to meet expectations?
No. They’re 13-4, and many Racers fans I’ve spoken to are disappointed with their performance. Again, 13-4. That’s a good record.
21. Does head coach Steve Prohm return to Murray State for a third year?
Maybe. The big question is this: what does he do when he looks at next year’s roster. No Isaiah Canaan, no Ed Daniel. The roster will be very inexperienced, without the senior leadership they’ve had this year. If he does stay for a third, I think it’s likely he stays for a fourth, and possible a fifth. But getting to three will be the challenge.
22. Who are the starting 5 for the Racers first game?
Obviously answered. The Racers starting five hasn’t changed all season, and likely won’t for some time to come.
23. Will Zay Jackson play again for the Racers?
As more time goes by, the more this is looking like a yes. It might not be next season, either, as his legal issues continue to drag out. But as long as Prohm is at the helm, Jackson will get another chance.
24. Does Isaiah Canaan take another step forward?
He hasn’t. He’s been great, but not any greater than he was last year. He’s having to do a lot more of it on his own, and he’s been dealing with a foot injury. He hasn’t taken a step backward, but he’s not taken one forward either.
25. Do the Racers return to the top 25?
Nope. Not going to happen.
26. How long do the Racers continue selling out the CFSB Center
They haven’t yet. And they won’t this entire year. In fact, their attendance appears to be dropping.